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Phytoplankton ecology in a high arctic polynya Butler, Joanne Elizabeth


Primary production was studied in Fram Sound, part of the Hell Gate-Cardigan Strait polynya, from June to August, 1982. Primary production rates, phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll α), and water transparency were measured and used in conjunction with modelled solar radiation values to numerically model primary production during this time. The major phytoplankton nutrients were also measured. Early season chlorophyll α concentrations were low, and the increased light availability due to reduced ice cover in this area did not appear to enhance early season production. Chlorophyll concentrations peaked twice; the first peak occured on 20 July and the second on 14 August. The mean primary production rate and phytoplankton biomass were 998 mg C.m⁻² .d⁻¹ and 72 mg chl.m⁻² . This production rate is higher than that measured in other High Arctic areas. Nitrogen, phosphorus and silica were essentially homogeneously distributed during the sampling period and these concentrations varied little from June to August except during 5 days in late August, when they decreased by half then returned to previous levels.

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